An Ugandan activist carries a mock coffin to protest the murders and kidnappings of women in Kampala on Tuesday.

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42 cases of kidnap have been reported in four months, police say

Activists take coffins to parliament to protest kidnap and murder cases

Lagos, Nigeria CNN  — 

Ugandan activists are protesting a spate of kidnappings and murders in the country by dumping coffins outside the country’s parliament building.

More than 20 people, mostly women and children have been abducted for ransom in recent months in the country. And rights groups say they have had enough.

Uganda has experienced a rise in kidnapping for ransom this year, increasing panic among residents who say security agencies are not doing enough to protect them.

Norman Tumuhimbise, founder of youth activist group The Alternative told CNN they have failed to investigate kidnap cases despite access to intelligence reports that could nail the criminals.

Carrying coffins and placards and placards with inscriptions such as “Women Lives Matter” to the Naguru Police Headquarters in Kampala, they say the coffins are a symbol of those who have died in the abductions.

According to Tuhumbise, many victims are killed and sexually abused when their families are unable to pay the ransom money.

“Ugandans are now paying to save the lives of loved ones who have been kidnapped. The police have access to the database of all mobile phones users to trace the kidnappers who are demanding ransom. Why have they not traced these calls to apprehend these criminals?” Tumuhimbise asked.

Last month, police recovered the body of a woman who was allegedly raped after her family failed to pay a $1,350 ransom for her release, local media reported.

In May, police in Uganda said it had documented at least 42 cases of kidnapping for ransom, rituals and terrorism in the last four months.

However, police spokesman Emilian Kayima countered that security agencies have arrested suspects in all 42 of those cases.

Kayima acknowledged that eight pf the victims died and said it had increased surveillance and intelligence gathering to pursue suspects and prevent kidnapping.

He added that their investigations show that most of the kidnappings were staged by the victims themselves.

“People are now making it a habit to stage their own kidnap for money. These are the majority of the cases. But even then, we have charged the perpetrators to court because we must discourage it, or else it becomes a business,” Kayima told CNN.

An emergency center has also been established where families of victims can report cases following an increase in kidnap cases in the country, the police said.